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The Problem With Netflix’s Red Notice

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Red Notice is a Netflix original starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot. The movie is an action adventure with large mix of humor that makes fun of itself in the best of ways. There are moments where you feel like you are visiting the sets of Jumanji, one of the many Marvel films, Wonder Woman, an Ocean’s 11 movie, or even Indiana Jones. Though that may be the point.

The good news is that the movie isn’t straight up awful. Whether poking fun of some classics or dropping their own new one-liners, the film is funny and highly entertaining in a way that the trio charmingly pulls off. There’s swearing, violence, and a lot of innuendo, so the film definitely should be one of those that a parent screens first for any kids under 13 or with low maturity.

So what’s the problem with the movie? It’s not the woke crap because believe it or not, this film almost had none of it, beyond the obvious casting choices of mostly women or “POCs” (people of color). No, the issue the film has was that, if you’ve watched a heist show, of which there are dozens upon dozens, it’s highly predictable. I watched the first few minutes and once all the characters were properly introduced, I had the movie figured out. Also, some of the tongue-in-cheek jokes aren’t as tongue-in-cheek as the writer probably wanted to believe they are.

But while that can be a problem for some audience members, does it really mean a movie is bad? If we’re getting to the point where we can guess what everyone is going to say or do in each and every scene, yeah, that’s bad. But if we can get the gist of a movie, or figure out something the movie probably meant to be a twist, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. We don’t have to cry foul and stick our noses up in the air.

The biggest problem Netflix has isn’t actually something they can do anything about. It’s the same problem every single movie producer, production company, and especially script writers have. Their biggest problem is us. 

The audience. 

You look at almost any movie made these days and, while there may be a blind, fanatical devotion to specific agenda driven movies by critics of film and television, the audience isn’t satisfied. It wasn’t realistic enough. It was predictable. There was too much CGI. There wasn’t enough CGI. Or worse, “this didn’t make me feel the exact same way the original did, so I hate it.”

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That one has become a big issues for guys like J.J. Abrams who was tasked with rebooting/remaking not just one of the most beloved Sci-Fi sagas of all times, but two! Star Trek and Star Wars were both loved and hated by fans and the next generation, alike. But guys like him are never going to win. They have to fight nostalgia, they have to be original and yet keep the same feel that even the creators themselves struggled to do during the original runs, and they had to be successful.

These days, no one cares whether or not a movie was entertaining. They’re chasing something else from an older movie that they’ve placed on a pedestal. The bar is set too high and I would bet that if we went back and watched with the same cynicism and low expectations we have with new films, we’d hate that old film, too.

I sat down to watch the first two Ghostbusters movies this past Halloween and caught my nose trying to lift into the air with derision and superiority. The thought, “that equipment couldn’t possibly work” entered the front of my brain. I had to ask myself, do I actually like the Ghostbusters movies, and then I remembered, I’m not a physicist. What do I care if everything about their science to catch ghosts is wrong? It’s Science-FICTION and it’s comedy! You’re supposed to laugh at it and enjoy it, not size it up against some physicist’s thesis!

So was Red Notice worth watching? Yeah. I think it was. Just go into it wanting to be entertained and recognize that it’s a silly movie that’s meant to be for fun. I mean, people still watch Fast and Furious movies for crying out loud. You can’t convince me the bulk of our society is too highbrow for another heist movie when yet another Fast and Furious movie is in the making.

Grade: B